ANGOLA – The African Development Bank has approved a grant of US$1million to boost children’s food and nutrition security program in Bié province, Central Angola.

This follows the submission of proposal for the grant for Emergency Food and Nutrition Security in September by the government after a severe drought hit the province, aggravated by below-average and erratic rainfall.

This plunged 2.3 million people into a food security crisis, among which 49, 131 are estimated to be children under the age of five suffering from malnutrition.

The humanitarian condition in the drought-prone provinces has deteriorated as a result of the high basic commodity prices, limited access to clean water and reach of hygiene services mainly due to lack of infrastructures.

During the third quarter of 2018, the food security unit under Angola’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests collaborated with World Vision and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to conduct a food and nutrition security household assessment in the provinces of Cunene, Huila, Namibe, Benguela, and Bié.

Bié is the province with the highest prevalence of chronic malnutrition at 51%, which is far above the national average of 38%, according to the multiple indicators and health survey 2015-2016.

For Bié province, the assessment team interviewed 360 households and screened approximately 600 children between 6 months and 4 years old.

The assessment found that the food and nutrition insecurity situation was critical according to WHO standards, as acute malnutrition was estimated above 15%.

The Food Security Unit (GSA), under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, will be Project Executing Agency, being responsible for the overall coordination of the project implementation.

In May 2019, the Government of Angola announced the release of US$600 million for a long-term intervention to combat drought in the southern region, focused on the construction and rehabilitation of water infrastructures in the Provinces of Huila, Cunene and Namibe2.

Later in May, the UN system approved an emergency response project funded by the CERF for US$6.4 million for these three same provinces.

In turn the Bank’s intervention will complement these separate therapeutic and supplemental feeding programs for vulnerable households with children between 6 months and 4 years old, in the drought-stricken municipalities of Cuito and Nharea in Bié province.